Monday, August 24, 2009


Well, this is the time I've been waiting for...the rest and recovery part! Of course, recovery can mean different things to different people. Pretty much took two weeks after the race off, then MyKaren, ProKaren, Shelley and I started hitting the dirt on our mountain bikes. We are signed up to do a short adventure race at the end of September so it was time to get some dirt time.

It was nice to be better than ProKaren at something for about 30 minutes, as she is not a mountain biker. How sweet to hear some complaining about how hard it was! Aahhh. ProKaren was building up a nice set of bruises, but of course I did one better.

We first took her to Poor Farm and then Pocahontas parks since the trails are not as technical, and despite a spill a day, she was doing great (darn her). So, last weekend we decided to tackle Buttermilk. We had made our way to the Boulevard Bridge, I was last in line. At the section that goes under the bridge, both Karens walked their bikes, as it is very washed out and has big rocks. Of course, I decided to try to ride it. All went well for the first 10 feet. Then I ran into a big rock that I did not roll over, so over I went. Flying face-first towards a big pointy rock, I decided to put my left hand out to stop my face from hitting it. Good idea, as it saved my face. Not so good for my wrist. Anyhoo, a bad sprain, major impact bruises and gashes and a hospital visit later, I've been taking a little more time off than anticipated. I hit the ground so freakin hard, I really thought I broke my wrist, so I'm laying in the dirt yelling my head off and scaring both Karens to death. My knees ended up being the things that hurt the worse, I still can't really run. Waahh. But, my wrist is getting better!

We rode yesterday at Pocahontas, I tried the single-track but the jarring hurt my wrist so we did the Fendely Station trail...without a map. 2 1/2 hours later, after riding in circles for quite a bit, we finally managed to get the heck off the trail and back to the car. I wish the trail signs had actual directions on them. I know that portions are easy, but we were not in those areas, we were north of the dam, trying to find the damn dam, to make a big circle, and we just could not find it. Doesn't make the idea of an adventure race seem like a smart one...We think we got chiggers as times!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

IMUSA Race Report - Final Part!

Sheesh, the run. What can I say about it? I was concerned about the run before I even started the race, and the bike and foot cramps really got me nervous, but I found myself on the run course, trotting down the hill in town and making my way slowly towards the first turn around. Todd ran by me (on his 2nd lap), and we talked briefly before he went ahead. Amy also caught up to me on the 1st out and back, looking strong, but cursing the course. Then MyKaren came along (again all were on their 2nd laps) and she helped me get through a lot of that first out and back. I was feeling like crap, some stomach cramps and general yuckiness, but gamely tried to drink water and gatorade and eat gu every 30 minutes or so, along with more damn SaltStick pills, I think I had about 12 of them overall that day. I was miserable and I made MyKaren promise that she would not make me do another damn IM.

I made MyKaren go ahead after a mile or so, since I really wanted her to finish with daylight left and continued my pathetic trot/walk along the road. I hooked up with a guy name Tom and we trotted and walked along crunching numbers and splits trying to figure out if we were going to make the midnight cutoff. If anyone out there has not been in the real back of the pack, that's what we do, calculate times and distances, and hope that we are not too late! We finally realized that we had done 8 miles in 2 hours and that we had 5 hours left, which made us feel better since we felt we could keep that pace. Going along, I think I saw our entire group at one point or another, and everyone looked good!

As I got to the steep hill in town, ProKaren found me and walked with me up the hill, I was still having stomach cramps and was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep the slow pace I was going at. After some words of encouragement, I trotted off to do the out and back along the lake, and Lisa was kind enough to trot along with me for about a 1/2 mile. At the water stop, I took some cola and that ended up being the difference in my run! I started running at the turn and somehow finally felt good enough to run. It was strange, but some switch seemed to go off and I ran and ran that second loop. I must have passed 30 people as I ran, not a fast run, but an actual run nevertheless. I still walked the hills, but the sun went down, I ran some as well, since I couldn't really tell if there were hills without lights. It was strange running in the dark, from light pool to light pool, aid station to aid station. I kept downing some cola at every aid station, and choked down some more gu and salt pills. The moon that night was very pretty over the Ausable River as I made my way back into town.

At some point I decided that I really didn't want to finish in the last hour and that goal kept me going. Sharon walked with me for the last little bit, and then I took off in an actual run into the stadium for the finish. I had wondered if this finish would feel as good as IMFL, and I have to say it did. I was very, very, very happy and the crowd was great! I ended up running the marathon 4 minutes faster than IMFL, I had a negative split and I finished in under 16 hours. All in all, a hard, but satisfying effort!

Now, I am hoping to join the crew at IM I crazy, stupid or just a lemming?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

IMUSA Race Report - Part 2

The bike was hard, fast, hot, slow, painful and beautiful....just not in that order and not equally. I had an eating plan, which I tried my best to stick to while I trudged up the hills around Lake Placid. The first lap was fine, the downhill into Keene was fantastic, fast and smooth! I was flying down the hill passing people like crazy (because I figured that would be the only time I would pass people). From Keene to Jay was fast as well, and then the fun stopped. The remainder of the loop is pretty much uphill, and it sucked the energy right out of me. I had set my watch to beep every 15 minutes to remind me to eat, and it began to drive me crazy, but I drank my CarboPro and Gatorade, took my Saltsticks and nibbled on bananas, pretzels and cliff bars. Lynn caught up to me on the uphill out of Jay, and we rode together into town for the end of the first loop. I got my special needs bag and sat on the curb enjoying my picnic lunch, when ProKaren appeared and was yelling at me for sitting down...I guess she doesn't have picnics when she races. So, the second loop was harder, the wind picked up and it was harder to go, but the downhill was just as fun as the first time! I loved it, I have no idea how fast I was going, but I didn't brake at all, so I'm guessing hi 40s or low was bliss.

After catching back up to Lynn on Hazelton out and back, we rode most of the remainder of the loop together and then with about 10 miles to go, my feet started cramping up. This was a new thing, never happened before, but my goodness they hurt like hell. I was trying to wiggle my toes, but it did not good, and the pain got worse as I climbed the bears and then the bastard. I got really worried about running, since it felt like I was being stabbed in my feet and my legs were toast from the climbing in the wind. I somehow tottered into the T2 area, off my bike with less than 45 minutes to spare, and promply took off my shoes and tried to walk to the tent. It was agony, so now I am wondering if I can even walk the marathon, or if I even wanted to try to do so.

The woman "helping" me in the tent was kind of brusk, and she kept pushing clothes on me when I wasn't really ready for them. Bethany and Lynn were changing at the same time, but were a little ahead of me. I was getting a little pissed at the helper, but in retrospect, she did me a great service since she didn't give me a chance to bail. Somehow, I found myself leaving the tent at a trot, I cannot for the life of me remember how that happened as I have no recollection of making the decision to go ahead and try the run. I actually had a faster T2 time than IMFL by nearly 3 minutes, so at least I PRd in something!

Monday, August 3, 2009

IMUSA Race Report - Part 1

Shoot, I could sum the race up like this: swim was good, bike was ugly, run was ok. But what's the fun in that? The race was a bitch, a couple of bears, some cherries, and a bastard all rolled into one big long day of moving forward. Lake Placid is a very nice town, and we had a great house of racers (Rick E, BlakeE, Shelley MyKaren and myself) and sherpas (some prefer domestique) which was so nice. I need to thank all of the sherpas, because without their wonderful pre-race care, we would have all been in trouble: Sharon, Lisa, Twila and Susie were the best ever! They fed us great meals, made us relax and took care of us throughout the race and afterwards. An IM race simply cannot be done without sherpas, and we had the best! So THANK YOU!!!!!!!

So, the pre-race stuff was all good, we all arrived safely, as did our bikes (MyKaren had a bike scare shortly before leaving, but it worked out) and other equipment. The weather up to the race was nice, not cold, not hot, not humid and surpisingly, not rainy! After last year's torrential downpour and all the rain we trained in this year, we expected rain and more rain. Race day was a bit warm and humid, which took its toll on everyone.

For this race, I had two goals, one was to officially finish the darn thing and the other was to PR in some part of the race...keeping in mind that even a better transition time would count!

The swim start was a crazy as it looks in the photos and from the shore, I waded in about 30 seconds behind the start gun (which has, on both occassions, seemed anticlimatic) and after rounding the dock, found myself in a mosh-pit of swimmers about 5 feet from the golden ticket: the cable. This swim was much more congested and thrashy than the IMFL swim, and I realized pretty fast that being close the cable was not where I really wanted to be! I nearly ran into a safety canoe as it kept moving around, and my goggles fogged up so badly that I really could not see, but I found a spot about 15 feet from the cable and managed to fend off being kicked or punched in the face. The first lap was not as bad as I had feared, I pushed some people away from me and had to stop about 1/2 to clear my goggles, but I finished the 1st lap at 41 minutes or so. For the second lap, I had decided to swim inside the cable and I found a super sweet spot behind a woman and beside a guy and there I happily drafted to the first turn. It was some sweet action! I kept touching the woman's feet, so she was probably pissed off by that, but I didn't mean to! I lost that sweet spot at the turn and the inside line became very congested so I just kept as close as I could to the line and finished the swim. Only really cool thing was at the very end, when I caught a glimpse of a diver below me! I know they are there, but had not seen them, except for some random bubbles!

I was hoping for a swim pr, but missed it by 30 seconds: 1:23:38. The run to T-1 is long, and I took my time changing, since there was sand everywhere and I didn't have anyone helping me change. As it was, I missed some sand in a place that sand should not be when one rides a bike! My t-1 time was abismal, 13:30is, but I felt ready to ride when I left the tent and then waited while the bike people found my bike and got it to me. So, no pr on T-1!